Bryant Blue denies Conway, 14-0

By Rob Patrick

CONWAY — Chase Thornton threw a pair of touchdown passes in the first half and the defense made a trio of goal-line stands in the second half to make it hold up as the Bryant Blue Hornets blanked the Conway Carl Stuart Wampus Cats in eighth grade football Thursday at Centennial Bank Field in John McConnell Stadium.

The win improved Blue to 2-1 on the season with a trip to Sheridan pending on Thursday, Sept. 24.

Thornton completed 8 of 10 passes in the first half for 82 yards and the two scores, the first a 9-yard completion to Chase Christy, the second a 22-yard strike to Davis Nossaman. With Bryce Denker running in behind linemen-turned-fullbacks Daniel Castleberry and Amador Gaspar in Blue's "two-ton" formation, the Hornets added a two-point conversion after the second score to put the final score on the board with 54 seconds still to play in the first half.[more]

Conway reached the Bryant 1 on two possessions in the second half but was denied the end zone and had a first-and-goal at the 9 only to have the Hornets force a fumble which Denker recovered, one of two he claimed in the game.

Bryant opened the contest with an impressive drive from its own 40 to the Conway 12. But, on a fourth-and-10 from there, Thornton's pass to Christy came up a yard short and Conway took over on its own 2.

The Wampus Cats were unable to pick up a first down. In fact, they never got off the 2 and a short punt and a nice 25-yard return by Nossaman had Bryant 14 yards away from paydirt, just about where the Hornets had left off on their previous drive.

This time, they got the points when, after short runs by Denker and Matt Mears, Thornton hit Christy for the score on the first play of the second quarter.

In turn, Conway drove from its own 39 to the Bryant 27. After a procedure penalty pushed the Cats back, Denker, with help from Tanner Rich and Josh Chiles, decked running back Kwan Tolbert for a loss of 3. A third-down scamper by quarterback Cade Jones was negated by a holding penalty that was the only thing that kept Rich from sacking Jones for a loss.

Conway eventually turned the ball over on downs at the Bryant 37 and the Hornets set to work on their second scoring drive. A play into the possession, Thornton and Christy hooked up again for 25 yards. Still, the drive was in danger of stalling out at the Conway 31 when an interference penalty against the Cats provided a new set of downs from the 21. A play later, however, a reverse to Trevor Ezell was spoiled for a loss of 8 to set up third-and-18 at the 29. Denker got 7 yards back on third down then, on fourth, Nossaman hauled in Thornton's pass to the end zone for the score.

Conway started the second half with a march from its own 48 to the Bryant 7. On first-and-goal there, Gaspar dropped Jones for a loss of a yard. A second-down pass from Jones to Evan Wilson was completed but Mears and Christy came up strong and made the tackle for no gain. A third-down pass into the end zone was broken up by Jacob Irby to set up a fourth-and-goal. Jones completed a swing pass to Wilson who found a crease cutting back against the grain only to be tackled a yard short of the end zone.

Bryant took over on downs but, after a nice run by Denker got out to the 13, Thornton's only pass of the second half was picked off by Wilson deep down the right sideline.

It was as good as a punt and, a play later, Wilson was separated from the football and Denker recovered at the 21.

But the Hornets returned the favor three plays after that at the 30. An interference penalty got the Cats to the Bryant 15 and, a play later, Jones passed to Beau Bailey at the 1 to set up first-and-goal. But Conway kept running from the shotgun despite being so close and the Hornets took advantage by getting penetration and stopping Jones before he could really get started. On first down, Tanner Gullett, Gaspar and Mears teamed up to stop him for no gain. On second down, it was Gaspar and Mears leading the charge that stopped Jones for another no gain. On third down, Rich knifed through to make first contact on a 2-yard loss, bring up a fourth-and-goal at the 3.

After a timeount, Conway tried a swing pass from Jones to Tolbert only to have Scott Mead and Jimmy Yarberry sniff it out and drop Tolbert for another loss.

With 6:10 left to play, the Hornets took over on downs at the 6. Three plays later, they were forced to punt for the only time all night and Christy shanked the kick out of bounds at the 10. With another first-and-goal and 4:08 left in the game, Conway was still in position to make it a game but, again, the Hornets defense rose up. Ben Young fumbled and Denker recovered at the 10.

From there, the Hornets rooted it out to the 45 and ran out the clock. The key play was a 12-yard burst by Mears that converted a third-and-4 from the 16.


Score by quarters

Bryant Blue 0 14 0 0 — 14

Conway CS 0 0 0 0 — 0

Scoring summary

Second quarter

BRYANT BLUE — Christy 9 pass from Thornton (kick failed), 7:55

BRYANT BLUE — Nossaman 22 pass from Thornton (Denker run), 0:54

Team stats

Bryant Conway

First downs 11 5

Rushes-yds 33-100 18-41

Passing 8-12-1 9-16-0

Passing yds 82 79

Punts-avg. 1-2.0 1-37.0

Fumbles-lost 3-1 2-2

Penalties-yds 5-35 8-51


Rushing: BRYANT BLUE, Denker 18-69, Mears 6-31, Burton 3-8, Thornton 4-(-1), Ezell 2-(-7); CONWAY C.S., Tolbert 10-18, Jones 7-16, Wilson 1-7, Young 1-(-1).

Passing (C-A-I-Y): BRYANT BLUE, Thornton 8-11-1-82, Christy 0-1-0-0; CONWAY C.S., Jones 9-16-1-79.

Receiving: BRYANT BLUE, Christy 3-43, Nossaman 3-32, Burton 1-5, Ezell 1-1; CONWAY C.S., Rowland 3-49, Tolbert 2-8, Wilson 2-7, Bailey 1-10, Young 1-5. 


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